Opening Game of 3 Game Set: Padres Travel to L.A. To Face Dodgers

San Diego Padres (40-49) AT Los Angeles Dodgers (38-51)
July 8th, 2011 at 10:10 PM EST
Opening Line:  LAD -130, SD +110
Current Line:  LAD -120, SD -100
Opening Total:  6.5
Current Total:  6.5

SP:  SD- Mat Latos; LAD- Chad Billingsley

Ethier went 1 for 3 last night and is batting .313 on the season

The Dodgers had dropped 5 straight going into their last game against the Mets, but they were finally able to prevail, in impressive fashion, disposing of the Mets 6-0 last night.  Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw once again recorded a quality start, as he pitched 8 innings of the shutout, while striking out 9 batters.  He has more strikeouts than innings pitched this season, just as he did last season (212 Ks in 204 IP).

Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp had a two run double and Tony Gwinn Jr. went 3 of 4 with a stolen base.  Andre Ethier was 1 for 3.  Second baseman Aaron Miles drove in two runs as well on a double.

“We definitely needed a win. We hit well, played defense well,” Kershaw said. “Everybody is a little bit happier. Maybe this will spark us back to the good old days.”

For two teams so far under .500, there is a relative importance to this game.  If the Dodgers are able to complete a 3 game sweep, they will pass San Diego in the standings.  In the last series against San Diego, however, the Dodgers managed only 2 runs in the last 2 home games of the matchup.

Moreover, the Padres have come on lately, and before a loss last night had won 10 of their last 13.  Sending Mat Latos to the mound may not be the best remedy, given he has an ERA over 4 (4.26) and a losing record of 5-9.  He has yet to win at Dodger stadium, where he is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA.  Last outing, he gave up 3 runs in 6 innings in a loss to the Mariners.  His last three innings of work in that one, however, he did not even give up a hit.

“Once he got going, it was lights out,” catcher Nick Hundley remarked.

Matt Kemp has struggled against Latos.  He is 1 of 9 against Mat Latos, but he is 12 of 25 with a HR and 2 RBIs this season against the Padres.  Tony Gwinn Jr. is 6 for 15 against his former team this season, as well.

Chad Billingsley comes into tonight’s contest with a 7-7 record and a 4.15 ERA.  Last year was a rebound year for the former Giants ace, as he improved his ERA by roughly half a run from his 2009 campaign (though his W-L record remained the same at 12-11).  Last season he cut his walk and homer rates significantly, and after the All-Star break he gave up only one home run in NINETY SIX innings.  Billingsely finished 16th among NL qualifying pitchers in Support-Nuetral Winning Percentage.  It was the lack of offensive production that hurt Billingsley’s record, not poor pitching.

Billingsley was going for his third consecutive win on Sunday, but he gave up 3 runs in a 3-1 road loss to the Angels.  He had a 1 hitter going until the 7th inning.

This is Billingsley’s first matchup against the Padres in 2011, a team against which he is 0-3 with a 6.61 ERA in his last three starts, although last season he went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA.

Some betting trends:

The San Diego Padres are 10-5 SU in their last 15 games and the total has gone UNDER In 6 of their last 9 games.  The Padres are 5-10 SU in their last 15 road games while the total has again gone UNDER in 11 of the last 13 against the LA Dodgers.  The Padres are 9-4 SU in their last 13 games against the Dodgers and the total has again gone UNDER in 6 of the last 7 on the road against the Dodgers.  The Padres are 5-2 SU in their last 7 games on the road against the Dodgers.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are 1-5 SU in their last 6 games and the total has gone UNDER In 4 of their last 5 games.  It has also gone UNDER in 5 of the last 6 home games while the Dodgers are 2-6 SU in their last 8 games at home.  The Dodgers are 4-9 SU in their last 13 against the San Diego Padres.  The total has gone UNDER in 11 of the last 13 games against the Padres whlie the total has gone UNDER in 6 of their last 7 at home, as well.  The Dodgers are 2-5 SU in their last 7 home games against the Padres.

Given the low total of 6.5 and the fact that both pitcher’s have ERAs over 4, I expect the total on this one to go ‘over.’  While every single betting trend points towards betting on under, handicappers may have over compensated their total on this one, as I think the over is a very good bet.

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